See part 1 here.
Dramatis Personae Express
Deputy Rosco Dirk (Mike): Local cop dealing drugs on the side. Covered the DUI death caused by Dr. Persand.
Marcus Glassglow (Frankie): Male nurse at the A.M. Persand clinic. Steals drugs and provides them to Dirk .
Dr. Anne-Marie Persand (ChattyDM): Lush and only doctor in town. Heavily involved in the town’s swingers parties.
Fernanda Ramirez Gomez (Math): Sister of the man Dr. Persand killed, mistress to Dirk and AA mentor to Dr. Persand.
We were already on a roll when we hit the game’s midpoint and had (as per rules) to introduce 2 new catastrophic elements to spice things up even more. Based on the results of rolling the various dice we’d obtained during act 1 (see the review for details) 2 players were given the task of choosing them. After group discussions, we settled on
Paranoia: A stranger returns to exact revenge.
Mayhem: A dangerous animal (maybe metaphorical) gets loose.
I had a very strong visual about having Fernanda’s brother return to exact revenge on us, but that idea failed to pick up steam from the group so we decided to lay these choices on the table and see where they would take us…
Act 2: Chaos in the ‘Burbs
As luck would have it, Mike served us the 1st scene of Act 2 on a silver platter, letting us frame it for him. So we excitedly built the most heinous of scenes. His character Dirk was doing the nasty with Fernanda in the second floor bedroom when the door slams open downstairs and his Wife comes in, goes to the kitchen, grabs a huge knife and climbs the stairs.
As the wife is about to launch into her soap-opera soliloquy of treachery and…
Dirk: I get my pistol out and shoot her in the face.
All other players: WTF!?!
Dirk: Fernanda, I love you, I want to be with YOU, let’s get the fuck out of here and live our life like we should be, free of all this shit!
Fernanda (in shock): What? Are you insane? What the HELL?
Dirk (Waving his gun around then at Fernanda): I’m sick of all this, lets go!
Fernanda, too stunned to mount a rational protest, followed…
(end of scene)
The next scene saw Dirk barging in the clinic and rob Marcus of everything the place had of drugs and money. When Fernanda started mounting a protest, going as far as saying the dreaded “I don’t love you”, Dirk shot her in the knee to prevent her leaving, imploring his undying love for her and the bright future they had together.
This. Was. Intense. Shit.
The scene ended with Marcus making sure that all of Dirk’s action were clearly seen from the clinic’s security cameras.
I proposed to continue the last scene (an option available in Fiasco) with me coming in the clinic to find the chaos. Dirk ordered me to patch Fernanda up and promised that I’d never hear from him again if I got him out of this mess. Anne-Marie kissed him on the cheek, thanked him for everything, and used a strong tranquilizer on Fernanda, urging him to leave with her inert body before the cop showed up.
Fernanda (OOC): Hey, what the fuck man?
Of course, now that Fernanda was knocked cold, we were a bit flummoxed as to how we’d play it. We were also getting tired from all the emotional energies we were pouring into the game. Regardless, it turned out all right.
We fast forwarded to a scene where Fernanda had managed to free herself, handcuff Dirk to a motel bed and kick the shit out of him. Then she left him alone, with his cell phone barely out of reach.
Fernanda: I hope you’ve read Stephen King asshole!
And she left to hide in Mexico.
Dirk’s last scene was one where he finally reached the phone and called the feds to confess of his crimes.
Marcus’ was about packing everything up, going to his stash of cash and hoping to leave real fast as the police sirens sounded.
Anne-Marie’s last scene was her entering a dark shabby apartment with nothing but a raincoat and a small piece of luggage. She made her way to the bed room, slipped into bed and whispered to Fernanda “I’ve finally tracked you down, now we can be together”…
Fernanda’s last scene was her exiting a brothel with a wad of dirty American bills, wearing Anne-Marie’s raincoat. Her “friend” having found new employment in the Mexican skin trade.
The aftermath is where we find out what happens to all our characters, in a rapid montage. The ultimate faith of each character is based on just how good a score they get when they roll all the dice they have in front of them and reduce the total of one color from the sum of the other. The closer to Zero, the worse a character’s faith is.
In order of worse to best, here’s what happened.
Anne-Marie lived her life in relative bliss as a deluxe whore, but her life turned south when she was found battered and bleeding after the “celebrations” of the reelection of the Venezuelan president. From there her health (and clientele) plummeted and she died of a combination of all STIs several years later, her withered hand holding her one true friend’s: Fernanda.
Fernanda’s life was discreet and modest in Mexico, trying not to get noticed and hoping that the US Fererales would not come after her. As Anne-Marie slowly died in a Mexican hospital, she often visited her “friend”, stealing her medications to support her meager life.
Dirk was caught by the feds and sentenced to many long years in prison. There he studied intensely and was released early for good behavior. Soon after he started a cult and he now lives comfortably on a spiritual ranch in the country.
Marcus was caught by the cops but scored a plea bargaining to help indict Dirk. He managed to skip unscathed, recover his stash and make way to South America where he bought a nice house and now lives in peace.
(Roll end credits)
Post Game Stats
On screen sex acts: A lot
Off Screen sex acts: Way more
Body Count: 2 (including Dr. Persand’s)
Jail Time: 6-7 years
Copies of the DVD movie made: 4
Post Game Analysis
The game was a smashing success if you define such as players having had fun and strong emotional reactions. Everyone got heavily engaged in the story/game at one point or another.
Of course the game’s structure, lack of clear “classic” goals (i.e. quests) and heavy use of roleplaying within bizarre parameters (the playset) was a source of discomfort for some players, namely Math who’s more of a classicist. Give him levels, monsters and loot and he’s quite content. Still, he and the others rose to the challenge but were thoroughly exhausted by the end of the 2h30 hour session. I’m sure that more experience with the game would alleviate this.
My more story-oriented player, Frankie, absolutely loved how easy it was to build such a screwed up, yet “believable” story. He kept being amazed at how all players shared story-building and that playing each scene brought new elements you could exploit later (or earlier in the case of flashbacks).
Of course, the believability of the story was put to test a few times when our own sense of logic and morals questioned our characters’. I had to remind Math that his character was NOT as smart as he was and that the harebrained plan of hers was not something that he should challenge from his point of view but rather embrace and play to the best of his ability.
However, the true surprise of my evening was Mike. You see, Mike’s usually reserved and doesn’t like to impose his ideas or his preference on others. Well, in our Fiasco game, Mike EXPLODED, he took the reins of his character and played him in a strong manner. He let us know what he wanted and how he wanted it. When he gave us control of his scenes, he relinquished it without a word, but jumped on the outcome (like shooting his character’s wife or Fernanda) when the time felt right.
It was beautiful to watch. Hats off to you, you crazy bastard, you made this game come alive!
As for me? I loved every minute of it. So much so that I invested more in the scenes themselves than my own character. I decided to make Anne-Marie more passive, if a bit crazy, to savor how the game would unfold. That’s not to say that I didn’t influence the game, but it wasn’t about the doctor so much as the plans hatched around her. And I think that’s what Fiasco is all about.
My final thoughts about the game? It should be in the bookshelf of all RPG gamers period. I could give you reasons like having a game for when there’s too many players missing for the usual game, or if you wished you were better at role playing and storytelling. But it’s immaterial.Fiasco makes gaming history by providing a high quality, low crunch, high intensity role playing experience that can be delivered in 2h30 hours or less, explanations and setup included!
Expect to see more game reports from me when I play it again!